Who is 'Vance D. Coffman'

Vance D. Coffman served as Chairman of Lockheed Martin from 1967 to 2005 where he led the development of many important new aerospace systems including the Hubble Telescope.

Breaking Down 'Vance D. Coffman'

Born in 1944 in Kansas, Vance D. Coffman spent 38 years at Lockheed Martin during the time when the company developed many groundbreaking products, including the Hubble Telescope and the MILSTAR satellite communications program. Coffman earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering in 1967 from Iowa State University before going on to get his Masters and Doctoral degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University.

After earning his degree from Stanford University, Coffman joined the Space Systems Division at Lockheed where he served as Guidance and Control Systems Analyst. He rose through the ranks of the subsequently merged company Lockheed Martin, where he was instrumental in the development of many exciting new space programs including the Hubble Telescope, the MILSTAR satellite communications program and the company’s work on the Iridium Satellite System. He served as Chief Executive Officer from April 1998 to April 2005. Following his time at Lockheed Martin, Coffman worked as an Independent Director for the 3M Company until May 2018.

Vance Coffman has been active on many corporate boards over the years. He served as Director of Amgen Incorporated until 2016. He was an Independent Director of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company from 1998 to 2007. Coffman has served as Chairman of The United Negro College Fund and The Atlantic Council of the United States. He also serves on the Advisory Board of Stanford University. He is a past or present member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the US Chamber of Commerce, the Business Round Table and the National Academy of Engineering.

Coffman has been the recipient of many honorary degrees and awards including the Distinguished Achievement Citation in 1999 from his alma mater Iowa State University. Coffman is a Fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and the American Astronautical Society.

Coffman and the Importance of Lockheed Martin

Vance Coffman’s tenure at Lockheed Martin from 1967 to 2005 coincided with the heyday of the American aeronautics industry. He presided over years of growth at Lockheed Martin during a time when the defense industry was consolidating into fewer and fewer companies. He was instrumental in Lockheed Martin’s critical role in the development of new space launch vehicles and ground-based missile defense systems. 

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